BRASELTON, Ga. (April 16, 2005) – Swedish driver Nic Jonsson earned the first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Air Force Reserve Pole Position of his career Saturday morning and set a new SPEED Touring Car qualifying record in his No. 27 Tasker Products/Tecmark Autosport BMW 325Ci at the sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta. -30-
On his first flying lap of the 20-minute session, Jonsson posted a 1:33.523 (97.722 mph), which beat the previous qualifying record of 1:35.272 set by Peter Cunningham in 2004. In all, 15 SPEED Touring Car drivers, aided by light winds, sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 50s, turned in times that were faster than the old record.
“The car ran flawlessly,” Jonsson, who resides in nearby Buford, Ga., said. “It has been all weekend really. We’re still dealing with some power issues we’ve had since Sebring, but it seems like we got some of that power back for this weekend.
“Other than that, the car is beautiful. The guys did a great job preparing the car, and I can’t be happier to be a part of this SPEED World Challenge Touring Car series.”
Two-time defending Champion Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., will start second on the grid in Saturday afternoon’s race after putting down a lap time just 0.01-sec. behind Jonsson. Starting third behind Kleinubing’s No. 43 A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura TSX will be Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., who ran a 1:33.582 (97.711 mph) in the No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Motorsport Mazda Protégé. Bob Stretch’s No. 98 Wheels America/Okell’s Fireplace BMW 325Ci will start fourth—just 0.07-sec. off the pole in what many believe to be the tightest first two rows in series history.
Point leader Peter Cunningham will start fifth in his A-SPEC/RealTime Racing Acura. In all, the top nine cars qualified within a half second of Jonsson’s time.
The SPEED Touring Car grid is set for Saturday afternoon’s race, which will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel beginning at 4 p.m. (EST).
Live timing and scoring and full event coverage is available at www.world-challenge.com.
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